Archive for November, 2018

Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, insulted President Trump at the 100-year commemoration of the end of World War One

November 13, 2018


Photo Credit: Benoit Tessier / Pool Photo via AP

There was a ceremony on Nov. 11, 2018 at the Arc de Triomphe in central Paris to commemorate the more than 8 million persons who died in World War One.  The ceremony was attended by world leaders including President Donald Trump of the United States, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and President Emmanuel Macron of France.  British Prime Minister Theresa May was not there; she chose to attend a ceremony in London that day.

President Macron, who has become unpopular in France, led the ceremonies.  Instead of simply giving tribute to the persons who died in the war, President Macron also used the occasion in an attempt to humiliate President Trump, a nationalist with an “America First” stance.

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism,” President Macron said. “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism by saying: ‘Our interest first.  Who cares about others?'”

President Trump was stoic during President Macron’s speech but he politely clapped at the end of the speech.  Because President Trump had no speaking role at the ceremony, he did not address President Macron’s insults.  President Trump was friendly with President Putin.

“Mr. Putin . . . seemed focused on Mr. Trump, approaching him at the Arc de Triomphe, shaking his hand and giving him a friendly pat on the arm.”  Source: Peter Baker and Alissa J. Rubin, Trump’s Nationalism, Rebuked at World War I Ceremony, Is Reshaping Much of Europe (The New York Times — Nov. 11, 2018).

On the day before the ceremony, President Macron welcomed President Trump and called him his “good friend.”  President Macron and President Trump shook hands on the steps of the Elysee Palace.  It was President Trump’s second visit to Paris since July 2017, when he arrived as President Macron’s guest of honor at Bastille Day celebrations.

Pat Buchanan called President Macron’s comments at the ceremony “a rebuke bordering on national insult.”  Source: Pat Buchanan, Macron to Trump: “You’re No Patriot!” (Nov. 13, 2018).  Mr. Buchanan also wrote: “As for Trump’s policy of America first, Macron trashed such atavistic thinking in this new age: ‘By saying we put ourselves first and others don’t matter, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great and what is essential: its moral values.'”

Mr. Buchanan also wrote: “But Trump did not say that other countries don’t matter. He only said we should put our own country first. What country does Emmanuel Macron put first?  Or does the president of France see himself as a citizen of the world with responsibility for all of Europe and all of mankind? . . . But is Macron really addressing the realities of the new Europe and world in which we now live, or is he simply assuming a heroic liberal posture to win the applause of Western corporate and mediate elites?”

Mr. Buchanan noted: “The leaders of the world’s three greatest military powers — Trump in the U.S., Vladimir Putin in Russia and Xi Jinping in China — are all nationalists.”

On the Tuesday before the 100-year commemoration, President Macron said on French radio: “We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia, and even the United States of America.”  President Trump called President Macron’s comments “very insulting.”

“Emmanuel Macron of France suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. its own military in order to protect itself from the US, China and Russia,” President Trump tweeted on November 6. “But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two — How did that work out for France?  They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along.”

President Trump later tweeted: “The problem is that Emmanuel suffers from a very low Approval Rating in France, 26%, and an unemployment rate of almost 10%. . . . By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France, very proud people — and rightfully so.”  He then tweeted: “MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN!”

“The once close relationship between President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron appears to be on the rocks . . . .”  Source: Bob Bryan, Make France Great Again!: The Trump-Macron bromance appears dead as Trump launches into tirade against the French leader, Business Insider.


Photo Credit: Christophe Petit-Tesson / Getty Images


Harry Patch, the last surviving British soldier from World War One who died in 2009 at age 111, called the war a “calculated and condoned slaughter of human beings”

November 13, 2018


Photo Credit: BBC News

This month, there was a commemoration of the end of World War One, which officially ended at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

Harry Patch was the last surviving British soldier from World War One.  He was born on June 17, 1898 in Combe Down, near Bath in Somerset and died on July 25, 2009 at age 111.  “Harry Patch died peacefully in his bed at his residential home in Wells, Somerset, a man who spent his last years urging his friends and many admirers never to forget the 9.7 million young men who perished during the 1914-18 war.”

Source: Tracy McVeigh and Mark Townsend, Harry Patch, Britain’s last surviving soldier of the Great War, dies at 111 (The Guardian — July 25, 2009).

“Mr. Patch survived the trenches of Flanders as a machine gunner and suffered severe wounds.  For most of his life he was reticent about the war and his service in it, but after his 100th birthday Mr. Patch began speaking out against the war and the hatreds it engendered.”

Source: Sam Dickson, Remembering Harry Patch (American Renaissance — October 2009).

“Only when he reached 100 could he look back.  His book The Last Fighting Tommy (2007, written with Richard van Emden) found him, at 109, not only the last British soldier to have seen combat on the western front but the oldest first-time author.”

Source: Christopher Hawtree, Harry Patch (The Guardian — July 25, 2009).

“He remembered all of those who died and suffered, and every time he was honored he knew it was for all of those who fought,” Mr. van Emden said.  Source: McVeigh and Townsend in The Guardian.

In July 2007, Mr. Patch attended the 90th anniversary commemoration of the beginning of the Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres.  British historian A. J. P. Taylor estimated 300,000 British wounded or killed and 200,000 Germans wounded or killed.   Source: A. J. P. Taylor, The First World War: An Illustrated History at 181-82 (1972).

Mr. Patch fought in the battle, which took place on the Western Front from July 31 to November 10, 1917 near the Belgian city of Ypres in West Flanders.  On September 22, 1917, Mr. Patch was badly wounded in the chest.  He recuperated back in England.

At the 90th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Passchendaele, Mr. Patch called the war a “calculated and condoned slaughter of human beings” and said that “war isn’t worth one life.”  Source: Dickson.  “On the 90th anniversary of the end of the war he attended the remembrance service in London at which his message was, ‘Remember the Germans.'”  Id.  Mr. Patch said: “I . . . will be joining fellow veterans at the Cenotaph on Sun 11 November to remember ALL those killed by the tragedy of war.”

Mr. Dickson wrote: “He said he was a reluctant soldier, noting that when he first came face to face with a German soldier, he could not help thinking of the commandment, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ He deliberately shot the German in the shoulder, making him drop his rifle, but the German kept running towards him.  He then shot the man twice in the leg. ‘I had about five seconds to make the decision,’ he said.  ‘I brought him down, but I didn’t kill him.'”

“He was in the trenches at Ypres between June and September 1917, where he and his gang of five machine gunners made a pact not to kill an enemy soldier if they could help it: they would aim for the legs. In September 1917, a shell exploded above Mr. Patch’s head, killing three of his comrades; he was hit by shrapnel in the lower abdomen, but survived.”  Source: McVeigh and Townsend in The Guardian.

“In 1999, he received the Legion d’honneur medal awarded by the French to 350 surviving veterans of the Western Front, dedicating it to his three fallen friends. he revisited the Ypres battlefield and British and German war cemeteries, placing a wreath on a German grave. Mr. Patch fervently believed war was ‘organized murder.’ ‘It was not worth it,’ he said. ‘It was not worth one, let alone all the millions.'” Source: McVeigh and Townsend in The Guardian.

Mr. Patch wrote in The Last Fighting Tommy: The Life of Harry Patch, the Oldest Surviving Veteran of the Trenches: “Politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organizing nothing better than legalized mass murder.'”

When Mr. Patch was 110, poet laureate Andrew Motion wrote a poem about him titled “The Five Acts of Harry Patch.”  “It opens . . . with an evocation of an Edwardian summer and, inevitably, closes in the centenarian’s nursing home, with his terror, memory flooded with sniper fire, when staff open the linen cupboard opposition his room. [Mr. Patch said:] ‘All it takes is someone switching on the light — there is that flash . . . .'” Source: Hawtree in the Guardian.

“He would lock himself away and remember his friends,” said author Max Arthur, whose 2005 book Last Post documented the words from the last 21 survivors of the war. “Last week, there was just one; now there is no one alive who has seen what Harry saw in the trenches.  Harry said it was just the most depressing place on earth, hell with a lid on,” he said.  Source: McVeigh and Townsend in The Guardian.

Mr. Patch’s funeral was on Aug. 6, 2009 and was attended by thousands of mourners.  “Honorary pallbearers included two soldiers each from France, Belgium, and Germany, all in full dress uniform,” Mr. Dickson wrote. “A German diplomat was one of the scripture readers at the Anglican service. Mr. Patch would have approved of the inclusion of the Germans.”

Mr. Dickson concluded: “We must foster a sense of our common heritage as European whites and remember as our forefathers did in medieval times that there is a shared, overarching race and culture of all Europeans that binds us to each other even as we remain separate and proud members of different white nations. There must never again be a brothers’ war between our kindred nations.”





Lewis Hamilton won his fifth Formula One title at the Brazilian Gran Prix and Mercedes Benz won the Constructor’s title

November 11, 2018


Photo Credit: Paulo Whitaker / Reuters

Starting from the pole position, Lewis Hamilton of England won the Brazilian Gran Prix on Nov. 11, 2018 at the Interlagos circuit in San Paulo. It was Hamilton’s 10th win of the Formula One season.  Hamilton’s win helped Mercedes Benz win the Constructor’s title for the fifth straight year.

Hamilton finished less than two seconds ahead of second place finisher Max Verstappen of Holland of the Red Bull team.  Kimi Raikkonen of Finland, driving for the Ferrari team, finished in third place.

Force India’s Esteban Ocon of France collided with Verstappen on the 43rd lap of the 71-lap race when the Dutchman was in the lead.  Verstappen was attempting to lap Ocon, who did not move his car to the side.

“Ocon, running way down the order, bizarrely raced wheel-to-wheel at 200 mph with [Verstappen] before banging into the right-rear of Verstappen’s car through the Senna Esses.”  Source: Phil Duncan, Lewis Hamilton wins Brazilian GP as Max Verstappen confronts Esteban Ocon after collision, The Telegraph (Nov. 11, 2018).

Verstappen made a valiant effort to regain the lead but could never catch up with Hamilton.  Verstappen called Ocon a “f***ing idiot” over his radio.

Ocon was assessed a 10-second stop-and-go penalty, the most severe punishment that could be given out by the race stewards.

Valtteri Bottas of Finland had the fastest lap (1:10:54.0) on Lap 65 in his Mercedes.

Race Results:

First — Lewis Hamilton (England) Mercedes 1:27:9.066

Second — Max Verstappen (Holland) Red Bull 1:27:10.535.

Third — Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1:27:13.830

Fourth — Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull 1:27:14.259

Fifth — Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Mercedes 1:27:32.009

Sixth — Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 1:27:36.063

A total of 18 cars finished the race.  Two cars retired before the end of the race.

Hamilton has now won the Formula One championship five times: 2008, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018. (He won four with Mercedes and one with McLaren.) Hamilton is now tied for second place with the most Formula One championships. Juan Manuel Fangio also won the championship five times: 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1957.

Vettel has won the championship four times: 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.  Alain Prost of France also won the championship four times: 1985, 1986, 1989 and 1993.

Michael Schumacher of Germany holds the record for winning the championship seven times: 1994, 1995 and 2000-2004.  Schumacher has been severely disabled since Dec. 29, 2013, when he suffered a major brain injury in a skiing accident.

The only Americans to win the Formula won championship were Phil Hill (1961) and Mario Andretti (1978).  Five drivers have won the championship three times: Jack Brabham of Australia (1959, 1960 and 1966), Jackie Stewart of Scotland (1969, 1971 and 1973), Niki Lauda of Austria (1975, 1977 and 1984), Nelson Piquet of Brazil (1982, 1983 and 1987) and Ayrton Senna of Brazil (1988, 1990 and 1991).

Ferrari has won the Constructor’s title 16 times.   Williams won nine times, McLaren won eight times and Lotus won seven times.


Photo Credit: Federation Internationale De L-Automobile (FIA)